Residence of George Templeton Strong
Chamber (includes Solo), Choral
11 July 2020
“Our Musical ev’g. Haydn Number Two, was last ev’g. It was ‘a success.’ Every body was delighted, & the performance was pronounced admirable, even by some who (like Dr. O.) would have rather liked to tell me that there was just one thing that might have been better. I am specially glad of this for Dr. Pech’s sake, whose merits as a conductor and drill-master were thus made manifest to a number of nice people, and who made certain acquaintances that he may find useful. Our chorus, about whom I was uneasy, got on very comfortably and seemed to be pleased and gratified. Tho the ladies are real ladies, and just as good as anybody, I feared they would not mix in with the audience, after the performance. But they did. As to the orchestral Deutscher, I gave them a good drink all round when their work was finished and then took them up to the Library with a supply of cigars and left them there till I summoned them downstairs to supper. They were not in ev’g dress, and this seemed what suited them best. They would have been out of their element in the parlors. People in their position cost one some thought and anxiety on occasions like this. They ought to be, must be, treated with cordiality and with rather special attention. They deserve it, as ‘artists,’ or rather as interpreters of Art. But you can’t quite comfortably present a seedy Teutonic doublebass to Miss ___ or Mrs. ___.
“Our audience was about 150. There were the habitues of the house—Also Sumptuous Mrs. Adelaide Bell. Rev. Morrell of St. Alban’s, Rev. Dr. Frank Vinton, Dr. Barnard (who came in late, after Drisler’s Eulogy on the late Prof. Anthon) and his round ball of a jolly wife. Gen Wallen (?) and wife (nice people) from Governor’s Island—a dozen Naval Spaniards from Spanish frigate now in the harbor. They were brought by Gen. W. As I could not talk to them satisfactorily, I resorted to the sign language of a champagne bottle in each of my hands and glasses in theirs. They were well dosed and seemed to like it. Their uniforms and orders were gorgeous. James Gedder Day—Mrs. Viele & Captn. G. (U.S.N.) (who did not dapperdaw), Sweet Miss Angela, Miss Kitty T. and C.E.S. making a donkey of himself with her, as usual. The lovely Smythe girls, a Mr. Beresford, for whom Mrs. Annie Cameron had asked a card. Mrs. Wolcot Gibbs (here on a visit), Mrs. Isaac Wright, Mrs. D’Oremieuex and cousinery. This conjunction with Haydn No. 2 recalled an old mass-meeting of 1854. Many people sent Ellie flowers. Talboys sent a little group of wonderful beautiful orchids--[illeg.] or catleya—Mrs. William Schermerhorn and Wm. S. and their dear little Miss Chatte were here and seemed to like their ev’g. I always say that Mrs. Wm. S. is the very nicest and best bred woman in N.Y. society, for tho she never flatters or compliments, your feeling after five minutes talk with her is ‘what an agreeable, captivating, and important personage I am!’
“After the Mass there was some little desultory music. Rich’d Hoffman pianized certain frivolities. A Miss Bryan sang certain rubbish and so did someone else, from Romeo and Giuletta—or Montecchi and Capuletti or some such thing. Also our nice Miss Minnie Parker gave us ‘With Verdure Clad.’ It was well rendered. That dear good clever young lady did her part in the Mass most brilliantly and accurately. But she has been brought up on Verdi and Donizetti, and her singing showed it. She sang ‘Ex Maria Virgine’ with accent and expression that would have been appropriate to ‘O Mio tesor’ or ‘Gran Dio!’ in some idiotic modern opera.
“Haydn No. 2 is a magnificent work. Unlike most of Haydn’s works it grows stronger as it goes on. Its finest movements are toward its end, and its Agnus and Dona Pacem are among the most brilliant and the deepest things Haydn ever wrote. There are finer things in other Masses by Haydn—e.g. the Kyrie of No. 1 and of No. 3, the Gratias Agimus and Et Incarnatus of No. 6, the Sanctus of No. 6, the Benedictus of No. 16, the Hosanna of No. 4. But this Mass No. 2 is good and strong from beginning to end. The Credo perhaps excepted. Haydn himself has seldom surpassed its Gloria & its finale.”
[Preparations for this event are traced in diary entries from 12/18/67, 01/09/68, 03/01/68, 03/26/68, 04/02/68, 04/09/68 (extended commentary on the virtues of Haydn), 04/15/68, 04/23/68, 05/01/68, 05/14/68, 05/21/68, 05/25/68 (dress rehearsal)]